Thursday, April 30, 2009

The First 100 Days Are Always the…?

“I am pleased with our progress, but I am not satisfied,” said President Barack Obama on his 100th day in office:

If You Read Amy

Funny lady Amy Sedaris is planning to write a follow-up to her successful book on entertaining, the quite funny I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence (a copy of which she signed for me on my birthday a couple of years ago – jealous?).

The currently untitled tome by the Strangers with Candy star has been slated for fall 2010.

I know, right? But if I know Sedaris, it’ll be well worth the wait.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just Because, Pt. 36

How long do you think before the powers that be announce a reboot of Baywatch?

I’d sure like to see David Chokachi swim again….

A Beautiful Day to Be Beautiful

People magazine has announced its annual list of the 100 Most Beautiful, and Christina Applegate (TV’s Samantha Who?) has come out on top.

Let’s hear it for Kelly Bundy!

2009’s Most Beautiful star admits that after being diagnosed with breast cancer last March, she had “a rollercoaster of emotions, but there was a calm about what I had to do.”

Applegate underwent a double mastectomy, followed by reconstructive surgery. “It’s a decision that you made to save your life,” she said, noting one positive: “I don’t have to wear a bra! They don’t hang down to my knees like they did before. And the gals look good in tank tops.”

Also named Most Beautiful were list favorite Halle Berry, the girls from TV’s 90210, Zac Efron (natch), Christina Aguilera, Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto, Robert Pattinson, Michelle Obama, and SNL’s Kristen Wiig, among others.

They’re Preggers-ish!

Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick are expecting twin girls this summer.

You wouldn’t have been able to tell, though.

Parker, who stepped out earlier this week at the Tribeca premiere of Broderick’s Wonderful World, where she shared casting news about the upcoming Sex and the City sequel, isn’t showing a baby bump, and that’s because the couple will become parents once again thanks to “the generous help of a surrogate.”

Parker and Broderick’s girls will join eldest son James Wilkie, 6, who, like his mama and papa, is said to be “overjoyed.”


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Plugging Back Into the Zeitgeist

MTV has announced that Grammy Award-winning British songbird Adele will be the first artist to appear on a revived version of its popular Unplugged show.

Adele may not be burning up the radio, but she’s on fire.

Grammys…fan and critical adoration…a mid-summer gig at the Hollywood Bowl with Etta James…. Yes – Adele’s It, It, It.

The Call Girl Diaries

One of the Tribeca Film Festival’s sexiest films is Steven Soderbergh’s latest, The Girlfriend Experience.

Starring leading porn star Sasha Grey as an upscale Manhattan call girl, the partly scripted drama has the improvised feel of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, with plenty of dialogue devoted to the tanking economy, and blurs the line between fact and fiction:

The Girlfriend Experience opens (in limited release, I’m sure) on May 22.
It’s Getting Big Again

Sex and the City fans can breathe easy now that Sarah Jessica Parker herself has confirmed that Chris Noth will be back as Mr. Big in next summer’s sequel, after all.

“I don’t know anything yet [of what’s to happen],” she said yesterday at the Wonderful World premiere during the Tribeca Film Festival.

In other SATC casting news, Gilles Marini, who played Samantha’s tantalizingly naked neighbor in the first movie, may also reprise his role in the sequel – which oh-so-convenient now that Dancing with the Stars has broadened his fan base.

“I don’t have a clue,” Parker said about that. “I don’t know anything specific about a story for him, but it’s very possible.”

I guess we’ll find out at the end of May 2010.


Update: David Eigenberg, a.k.a. Miranda’s hubby, Steve, and Evan Handler (Charlotte’s husband, Harry) also have signed on for the sequel.

Monday, April 27, 2009

R.I.P. Bea

Maude and Golden Girls star Bea Arthur passed away over the weekend.

A family spokesman told AP the Emmy and Tony Award winner had cancer, and died peacefully at her home in Los Angeles. Arthur was 86.

I met Bea Arthur once a few years ago when she hosted opening night of the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. She had such...presence, you know. It was a true honor to shake her hand, for she’d made me laugh so much over the years.

She wasn’t the cuddly type (at least not with this perfect-stranger fan), but she was delightful and friendly and warm.

The world’s a little less bright now without her…a little less golden, indeed. But it remains a lot better for having had Arthur in it.

Click here to read some of her friends and colleagues’ reaction (including Betty White’s) to this sad news.


Update: Click here to read a remembrance by Rue McClanahan.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Two Ifs By the Road

Playing tonight at the Miami Beach Cinematheque is one of 2008’s finest films, one that you probably didn’t see: a shining indie gem called Wendy and Lucy.

The film’s story is quite simple: Wendy (Michelle Williams) is driving to Alaska, hoping for a summer of lucrative work at a fish cannery, and the promise of a new life with her dog, Lucy.

But when her beat-up ol’ car breaks down in Oregon – and she loses Lucy – both the thin fabric of her financial situation and her emotions come apart, and so Wendy must confront a series of increasingly tough decisions, with repercussions for herself and Lucy that will change their lives forever.

See – simple. But no less fantastic.

Wendy and Lucy succeeds in that it’s such a beautifully shot and told film (remember the name of its maker, Kelly Reichardt). Williams is a reckoning as Wendy, really – she’s engaging, she’s graceful, and she’s vulnerable – a quiet dynamo.

This is a tender, nuanced poem that astutely comments, without compromise, on the down-on-its-luck mood of these United States of America, and the choices we have to make to survive.

Wendy and Lucy is a must.

My Rating ****

Photo: Oscilloscope Pictures.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Music Man

Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement) is quite quickly becoming one of my favorite young directors.

His is such an unobtrusive, clean, beautiful style that his movies just beg to be watched.

His latest, The Soloist, may not have the Victorian whim of his retelling of Jane Austen’s love story that became his calling card, or the serene beauty that gives way to tragedy during the opening phases of WW II found in his adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel, but it remains engrossing throughout because of the dignity he affords the characters that inhabit it.

The Soloist, which was pushed back to today from an awards-bait-y schedule last fall, tells the true story of Nathaniel Ayers Jr. (Jamie Foxx), a musical prodigy who developed schizophrenia in his second year at Juilliard, and ended living homeless on the most un-Hollywood streets of L.A., where he performed a two-string violin and caught the attention of L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.).

The movie was written by Erin Brockovich screenwriter Susannah Grant, based on a series of columns written by Lopez, as well as a book he authored.

Wright took a social-realist approach to the movie, and populated his wonderful cast with actual homeless and mentally ill people, who, he says, provided a reality check for the stars.

As a result, it is easy to buy Foxx as man down on his luck. He portrays Nathaniel Ayers with a strength a lesser actor couldn’t or wouldn’t have mustered. And Downey delivers a most realized, true-to-life, nerve-hitting depiction of a man trying to do the right thing, and squirming when faced with the prospect of taking responsibility for his actions.

That is, after all, how we all tend to feel when we see a homeless person on the street.

This movie, with all its feel-goodness, is an all-too-real confrontation and a wakeup call for all to take a moment to listen to the sounds of life, but also to consider our fortunes and pay them forward.

Yes, it’s a little unfocused at times – we get it…the newspapers industry is dying. Now go back to the unlikely friendship between the street musician and the jaded journalist. But when Wright zeros in on the compelling human drama, The Soloist rocks.

My Rating ***

Photo: DreamWorks Pictures.
I Hope Ellen Asked Lindsay to Eat

Lindsay Lohan taped an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show airing today in which the troubled actress addressed her breakup with Samantha Ronson.

When DeGeneres asked L2 if she knew she and Ronson were bound for Splitsville earlier this month, Linds said, “I had no idea what was going on. I just hadn’t seen her in, like, a week. She, like, disappeared.”

And like, omigod, then you stopped like, eating?

Seriously-ish, though, Lohan also said she wants to get “my career back in shape,” and revealed she’s doing a movie in October.

I doubt Seth Rogen called her back, but I guess good for her, right?


Update: What a (sad) difference five years makes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

3rd Rock from the Sun

Today is Earth Day – so what better way to celebrate than to catch earth, a new Disneynature doc narrated by James Earl Jones.

That’s what I’m doing tonight.

One thing you should know, though: earth is a feature-length compilation from the BBC and Discovery Channel series Planet Earth, so if you saw that or own the DVDs, pop those in if you don’t want to spend the money.

Now click here to see what our planet could look like by 2100 if we don’t get it together.

Photo: Walt Disney Pictures.
Kelly, Dear…

Original Americal Idol Kelly Clarkson’s comeback (I don’t think she went anywhere, My December haters – for the record) just got a little bit stronger now that the second single off her new All I Ever Wanted, “I Do Not Hook Up,” has dropped (as the kids say).

Check out the video:

Cute, huh?

I’ve only got one bone to pick with it: Can someone, anyone find Clarkson a new video shtick, please?

We get it: There’s a formula to her Kelly Clarksoness (for her to have a hit that everyone hearts the song must start slow, build up, and erupt into a rock chorus).

But can’t they get a little bit more inventive with the visuals, though?

I mean, do we really need to see her perform the song, wind blowing her hair, in the video? I’d rather get, I don’t know…a storyline.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Washington Confidential

I loved State of Play.

As a journalist – mmm, let me just call myself a writer.

As a writer who went to journalism school (I think that’s better, for I don’t write that many truth-uncovering pieces for my real job), I know the difference between what’s right and wrong in the fine art of storytelling.

There is an important line a journalist – mmm….

There is an important line a serious writer mustn’t cross in order to be fair to the story and its subjects, and in State of Play, Russell Crowe’s seasoned investigative reporter goes – to borrow a quote from Friends’ Joey – so far past the line, he can’t even see the line.

The line is a dot to him.

And that’s one of the things that I found so intriguing about the film: how it shone a light on the craft of journalism, while at the same time, offered commentary on the current sad state of affairs the newspaper world is facing in what I call the Age of Opinion (best exemplified by all the blogs out there that don’t so much as report but spew).

As Cal McCaffrey, a Washington Globe scribe, Crowe leads an all-star cast that includes Rachel McAdams (one of the finest actresses of her generation), Helen Mirren, and a never-more-beautiful Robin Wright Penn, in a blistering thriller about rising U.S. Congressman Stephen Collins (a steely and fine Ben Affleck), who is embroiled in a case of seemingly unrelated, brutal murders.

That line I was talking about earlier: When you’re a journalist, you can’t be friends with your story subjects. Cal and Congressman Collins were college roommates. That complicates things, you see.

Collins comes to ask Cal for help after his research assistant/mistress is offed. His secrets exposed, Collins needs help controlling the flow of information, but Cal has a job to do.

After all, like a doctor who took the Hippocratic Oath, he has vowed to do no lie.

Director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) did a tremendous job bringing to the big screen the six-hour BBC miniseries upon which State of Play is based, thanks in part by the taut, edge-of-seat pace of the screenplay written by Matthew Michael Carnahan (The Kingdom), Tony Gilroy (the Bourne series, Michael Clayton), and Billy Ray (Shattered Glass).

This is, perhaps, one of my favorite movies of the year. It’s topical, twisty, and quite entertaining.

My Rating ****

Photo: Universal Pictures.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Omigod, Like

It’s 8 p.m., so obvs, we should be watching Gossip Girl, but since here we are….

The Gossip Girl spin-off has a name – it’s Valley Girls, starring Brittany Snow – and it has a poster to help it build its crazy buzz.

The spin-off’s pilot will air on The CW on May 11. Omygod, I can’t wait.

Nostalgia, Pt. 29

I am sooo going to miss Nicollette Sheridan’s bitching Edie Britt on TV’s Desperate Housewives.

Sheridan’s character met her maker on last night’s episode, which served as a moving eulogy for one of the show’s most quotable, if underused characters.

Edie’s death took place in the first few minutes of the show, which left off cliffhanger-style a few weeks ago with her crashing her car into a utility pole, and then getting the shock of her life.

“To add insult to injury, I was electrocuted!” Edie said in a voiceover. “What can I say: it was one of those days.”

As all the housewives gathered around, Edie said, “I died just like I lived – as the complete and utter center of attention!”

Even in her final moment, Edie had to deliver a line that would put everyone back in their place. As a fan of her and the show, I wouldn’t have had it any other way, natch, especially because Sheridan relished it – you could tell.

Throughout the rest of the episode, we got to see, though various flashbacks, how Edie, may she rest in peace, either came to know some of the housewives (i.e. Teri Hatcher’s Susan) or surprisingly lifted them up from their lowest points (Felicity Huffman’s cancer-stricken Lynette).

And seeing her go cleavage to cleavage with Eva Longoria Parker’s Gaby for men’s attention at club (pictured at right)? Priceless.

It was sad to see her leave, but it was great to see her go that way.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Mandy Moore’s Going Back in Time

With her new album, Amanda Leigh, coming out next month – the cute first single off which, “I Could Break Your Heart Any Day of the Week,” I simply adore – Mandy Moore is getting all kinds of revealing, from a spread in Details magazine to a chat with

In the latter, the singer, who describes her new album’s sound as “quintessential California ’70s pop,” says she wants people to give it the benefit of the doubt, and briefly considered releasing it under a different name.

“I [once] found myself in the company of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, who had really quality music, much more so than mine,” Moore said of her desire to break from bubblegum pop mold for which she first became known.

I’d say she’s doing one heckuva job at it.


Update: Moore may not have wanted to do a video for “I Could Break Your Heart Any Day of the Week,” but she did one, anyway – and let me tell you: Girlfriend looks mighty sexy in a trenchcoat. Click here for the proof.
Sofia Rises Again

She didn’t go anywhere, but she’s back.

Lost in Translation Academy Award-winning writer and director, and all-around über-It Girl Sofia Coppola will team up with Stephen Dorff (who will be seen in this summer’s Public Enemies) and Elle Fanning to go Somewhere.

The film, which will begin production in Los Angeles in the next few months, is the story of Johnny Marco (Dorff), a bad-boy Hollywood actor stumbling through a life of excess at the Chateau Marmont.

With an unexpected visit from his 11-year-old daughter (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’s Fanning), Johnny is forced to take a look at himself, as well as at the questions we all must confront.

“I’ve wanted to film an intimate story set in contemporary L.A.,” said Coppola, “and I’m looking forward to working with Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning.”

I’m looking forward to liking Somewhere as much as I did Marie Antoinette (which, I admit, took me longer than necessary), and Lost in Translation.

Second Life

Watching the first half of the new Zac Efron vehicle 17 Again I had two thoughts: First, Efron needs to eat a burger. And second, did Burr Steers really direct this?

Note to self: I shouldn’t be jealous of a 21-year-old movie star. He gets paid millions of dollars to look like fat is just a concept to him. But I could’ve lived without Efron’s extended shirtless opening scene, I really could. I found it titillating to say the least, obviously designed for the tweenagers and the twifties out there, and completely out to make me feel bad about the sympathy weight I’ve gained the last few weeks.

But that’s neither here nor there.

More germane to this review was the realization that the director calling the shots of 17 Again was the same man who helmed the fantastic, if little-seen 2001 gem Igby Goes Down.

Steers, who did not write 17 Again, is saddled with a script that’s lacking in charm, fun, and insight. The movie’s cute, but it’s tame, and if you’ve seen Steer’s work then you probably can tell he’s reeling it in a lot of the time. This is a studio movie – starring a former Disney star/money machine! – so I totally think he agreed to do it in exchange of being able to do something with more bite next.

Preferably something starring the invaluable Leslie Mann (more on her in a sec).

17 Again follows the story of Mike O’Donnell (Matthew Perry), a thirthysomething former high school basketball star with quite the future ahead of him he forsook to marry his girlfriend and raise their child.

By doing the right thing, Mike gave up on his dreams. His marriage is a failure, his kids (Michelle Trachtenberg and Sterling Knight) think he’s a joke, and his job is going nowhere fast.

When he gets a chance to correct the mistakes of his past and change his life, though, after he’s miraculously transformed back into a teenager (enter Efron), he realizes that perhaps he didn’t have it as bad as he thought he did. The grass is always greener when you’ve through a time warp, I s’ppose….

And, of course, we see young Mike interact with his nerd-in-high-school-but-now-look-at-me-I’m-super-rich BFF (Thomas Lennon), who has to pose as his dad so he can enroll in his kids’ school, and family (which include the glorious, scene-stealing Mann), and figure out why he’s been given the opportunity to live the life he’s been missing out on because he’s spent the last 20 years “in a bad mood.”

The best part of 17 Again is seeing Mann on screen.

Yes, Efron is a beyond-charismatic fella, but Mann’s a star that’s just beginning to blind us all with her light. At last. Every scene she’s in she elevates, which happily also applies to this otherwise forgettable movie.

Note to the movie studio: Seeing Efron eat a sandwich with a caloric count that could satisfy some poor village somewhere’s weekly allowance is not funny. Neither is seeing his young female peers slutty it up but good to get close to him, or seeing him deliver a sanctimonious monologue on why the school bully (who’s dating his daughter) acts the way he does.

This movie’s clearly not for us tweeneverythingelsers. But you feel free now....

My Rating **1/2

Photo: Warner Bros.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Life as a Lifeline

Coming up in June is My Sister’s Keeper, a.k.a. the movie for which Cameron Diaz wore a bald cap.

After their daughter is stricken with leukemia, a couple (Diaz and Jason Patric) conceives a younger sister (Abigail Breslin) who can provide a donor match, but the family is surprised and torn apart when, after years of medical procedures, the healthy sister sues her parents for the right to decide how her body is used.

A tearjerker for the middle of the summer movie season? Count me in!

Photo: Warner Bros.
Do You Mean Winona, Gwyn?

I’m about to do something uncharacteristic of this blog: I’m going to start a rumor.


In her GOOP newsletter today, Gwyneth Paltrow says that, “Back in the day, I had a ‘frenemy’ who, as it turned out, was pretty hellbent on taking me down.

“This person really did what they could to hurt me.

“I was deeply upset…angry…all of those things you feel when you find out that someone you thought you liked was venomous and dangerous.

“I restrained myself from fighting back. I tried to take the high road.

“But one day I heard that something unfortunate and humiliating had happened to this person. And my reaction was deep relief and…happiness.

“There went the high road.

“Why does it feel so good to hear something bad about someone you don’t like? Or someone you do like? Or someone you don’t know?”

Paltrow then shares with her readers the thoughts on some of the “sages” she consulted on this topic.

Her introduction left me scratching my head? Could Paltrow be referring to former BFF Winona Ryder, with whom she supposedly had a bad falling out over the script of Shakespeare in Love? (Because we know it ain’t Madonna!)

And did I just become guilty of exactly the thing Paltrow wrote about this week?

Can she spank me? I’d like that.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Best Laid Plans

In Mike Judge’s upcoming fall comedy Extract, Jason Bateman plays Joel, a man one step away from selling his flavor extract factory and retiring to easy street when a freak workplace accident sets in motion a series of unforeseen events – including the arrival of Mila Kunis as a new temp – that puts his business and personal life in jeopardy.

Extract is due out on Sept. 4.

Click here to watch the trailer, which includes bon mots by co-stars Ben Affleck, Beth Grant, and J.K. Simmons.

Photo: Miramax Films.
Movie Star

The busiest girl of 2009, Kristen Bell (she has like, five movies coming out this year), has signed on to star in the comedy titled You Again.

Bell will play a woman whose brother intends to marry the mean girl from high school who made her teenage years a daily nightmare.

Having seen her kick butt on TV’s Veronica Mars and Heroes, I can all but guarantee Bell can take on anyone – and that I’ll watch her in anything.

Have You Met Bo?

The Obamas dog has moved into the White House.

After months of anticipation, an oh-so-cute 6-month-old Portuguese Water Dog named Bo has become the nation’s First Dog.

Bo is a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy, who owns three PWDs, which are known for high spirits and said to be a good fit for kids with allergies (such as First Daughter Malia Obama).

Remarking on his family’s new member’s good looks, President Barack Obama said, “He’s a star – he’s got star quality.”


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Well, This Is Apropos

New York City, the city that never sleeps, is in for one long day next season.

After six seasons in Los Angeles and one in Washington, D.C., Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is taking his one-man show to Broadway!

24 will be relocating to NYC next season – although technically, Day 8 still will be shot in Los Angeles, with some New York location footage mixed in.

Production gets underway next month, but already details are emerging.

In addition to the move to the Big Apple, CTU will be making a comeback under the leadership of a new, yet-to-be-cast male character with a sharp intellect, who will be joined by two new twentysomething agents (one male, one female), as well as Mary Lynn Rajskub’s returning Chloe.

Slumdog Millionaire’s smarmy game show host, Anil Kapoor, is joining the cast as a Middle Eastern leader on a peacemaking mission in the U.S.

When M Met D.L.

I couldn’t resist typing that headline – I have a friend I call D.L. who calls me M – alas, the M and the D.L. I’m referring to are Moby and filmmaker extraordinaire David Lynch.

The two teamed up to work on the video for Moby’s “Shot in the Back of the Head,” which is being described as “a purely instrumental song deliciously heavy on mood and atmosphere.”

The song is the first single off Moby’s forthcoming June 30 album, Wait for Me, and the animated black-and-white video is something I’m just hearting so much:

Shot In The Back Of The Head from Moby on Vimeo.
Simply Irresistible, Pt. 50

I get to go see J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek a full six days before you do, and that’s a good thing because I’ve decided I’m such a Pinehead.

I mean, they don’t make them cuter and sexier than Chris Pine, no they don’t.

The new Capt. Kirk can boldly take me.

Shrewd…or Stupid?

Lindsay Lohan has teamed up with to do a self-depracating eHarmony spoof-ad, in which she declares, “I’m looking for someone I can spend the rest of my life with…or at least the rest of my probation”:

The rather funny video begs the question: Is this a good move on L2’s part?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Luck Wasn’t Lauren Graham Last Night

So I went to see Guys and Dolls on Broadway last night, because I just heart Lauren Graham, and I’ve been anticipating doing so for a bit and half.

Imagine my disappointment then, when I learned, after taking my seat, cup of white wine in hand, that Graham would not be on that night.

Oy with the Of course! moment already.

Nevertheless, it was a good time, and her understudy did a great job (and Craig Bierko is always fun to watch).

But if only….

A Baby for SMG!

Aw, this news makes me giddy.

Sarah Michelle Gellar and her husband of six years, Freddie Prinze Jr., are expecting.

The couple’s bundle of joy is due this fall.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

To Serve, Protect, and Make You Cry with Laughter

I cannot tell you enough good things about Observe and Report, starring comedy’s It Boy, Seth Rogen.

Directed by Jody Hill (who helmed the 2008 little-seen Danny McBride vehicle The Foot Fist Way), this oh-so-wrong movie, about a mall cop whose name is not Paul Blart, sounded appealing to me, unlike Kevin James’ unexpected winter hit.

Rogen is just terrific as Ronnie Barnhardt – indeed, his pre-weight-loss-for-2010’s-The Green Hornet face is perfect for this adorably cherubic one moment, gun-totting maniac the next type of a guy. And while, indeed again, he’s playing yet another man-boy, he’s the sun around which a stellar cast revolves.

Anna Faris takes a bit of a backseat following her starring and producing roles in last year’s The House Bunny, but she’s wonderfully memorable as Brandi, the hot makeup counter girl on whom Ronnie’s crushing. And Celia Weston’s glorious as his hard-drinking, tell-it-like-it-is-even-though-it’s-hurtful mom.

But Observe and Report isn’t about them but about what Ronnie does at the Forest Ridge Mall where he’s the head of security. He patrols his jurisdiction with an iron fist, combating skateboarders, shoplifters, and unruly customers while dreaming of the day when he can swap his flashlight for a badge and a gun.

You know – as a real cop.

His delusions of grandeur are put to the test when the mall is struck by a flasher. Driven to serve and protect the mall and its patrons, Ronnie seizes the opportunity to showcase his underappreciated law enforcement talents on a grand scale, hoping his solution of this crime will earn him a coveted spot at the police academy, and, natch, capture the attention of his heart’s elusive desire, Brandi.

His ill-advised and single-minded pursuit of glory ends up in a turf war with the equally competitive Det. Harrison (Ray Liotta), and Ronnie is confronted with the challenge of not only catching the flasher (who already has targeted Brandi!), but also of getting him before the actual men in blue do.

I’d say hilarity ensues, but the truth is the made-me-cry-with laughter hilarity in Observe and Report never ends. It is foul, it is wrong, but it is good.

My Rating ****

Photo: Warner Bros.

The Opposite of No

Yes – the Pet Shop Boys are back, and Yes is the name of their new album, their 10th, which will be released stateside on April 21.

Of the album’s title, keyboardist Chris Lowe said, “We thought that [it] just kind of summed up the theme of the album. It’s a positive, upbeat, euphoric pop album.”

Yes has two distinct parts: an upbeat introduction and a more mysterious end.

Love, etc.” is the album’s first track and currently No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales chart. It is a social statement about how money, shopping, and celebrity don’t necessarily bring happiness, while the third track, “Beautiful People,” imagines that it must be great to have wealth and fame.

“At the end of the day, it’s an old-fashioned sentiment, but love is more important, really,” Lowe said of “Love, etc.”

The Way It Used to Be” is a favorite track for both Boys. It charts a relationship from its romantic beginning to its melancholic end, wondering, “what is left of love” and longing to “leave our promises behind / rewind and try again.”

With all this talk of love, singer Neil Tennant is private about his own love life. As far as love in the album goes, though, “Some of it’s real, and some imagination; some of it’s memory,” he said.

Yes – I’m so gonna get Yes.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Simply Irresistible, Pt. 49

I really wish I was into TV’s Dancing with the Stars.

What is a Chuck Wicks, and where can I get one?

And yes – I can be a little bit country sometimes.


Monday, April 06, 2009

It Is What I Wanted, But…

Laura Leighton will be back on TV this fall in The CW’s reboot of Melrose Place.

Oh yeah, pose, snap!

Here’s the part that makes me nervous, though: Leighton left the original show after her character, the deliciously devious Sydney Andrews, was, mmm…uh, run over…on her wedding day…outside the church.

Presumed dead, she never was seen again for the rest of the show’s run.

Although the reboot’s pilot script is being kept under wraps, sources said Leighton would be the landlord to a new crop of tenants including Ashlee Simpson-Wentz.

Bringing back characters from the dead is very jump-the-shark-ish, but I’m intrigued. I heart Leighton so, and Sydney always was my favorite.

Now that Leighton’s on board, I wonder which original-flavor cast members will be moving back to the neighborhood. Heather Locklear and Andrew Shue aren’t (yet), but how about it, Thomas Calabro? Did you call your agent yet?


Update: Called it!

Thomas Calabro also will be seen lurking around the new Melrose Place when his Michael Mancini returns to the apartment complex this fall.

Awww. Did Syd and Michael make it work, after all?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Everybody Wants It

Fame, the iconic 1980s musical, is coming to a movie screen near you on Sept. 25, so remember, remember, remember that date.

Click here to watch the trailer, and then click over here to meet the movie’s cast.

Photo: MGM.
Those Basterds to Take Cannes

Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds won’t open stateside until August, but it will premiere with all the glitz and glamour it can muster next month at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film, which has been described as Pulp Fiction meets The Dirty Dozen meets The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, is set in Nazi-occupied France, after all, so the French premiere is très apropos.

Vanity Fair recently sat down with QT for its May issue, in which the director provides an exclusive scene from his script.

The magazine also features beautiful (and exclusive) cast photos as it declares Inglourious BasterdsSchindler’s List It Ain’t.”

They Got Her Begging Them for Mercy

This always was supposed to be a story with a happy ending, but now, a child has been denied a better future – and an entire kingdom (i.e., staff) will endure the ire of a disappointed Queen (of Pop).

A Malawian judge has rejected Madonna’s bid to adopt another child, 3-year-old Chifundo “Mercy” James, from the African country.

A judge and lawyer, speaking to the Associated Press anonymously, reportedly said the bid was shot down due to a requirement that prospective parents live in Malawi for at least 18 month before they can adopt. A judge waived that rule when Madonna took her adopted son David (pictured at right with the singer earlier this week) with her to London in 2006.

It is unclear why Judge Esme Chombo ruled differently this time.

M’s attempt to adopt the child has created outcry amongst activists who claim Mercy would be better off with relatives. Madonna has been called a kidnapper and a child trafficker in spite of having the support of the child’s family and the Malawian government.

For the past three years, M has supported Raising Malawi, an organization dedicated to bringing an end to the extreme poverty and hardship endured by Malawi’s 2 million orphans and vulnerable children.


Update 1:
Madonna and her legal team are “very surprised with this ruling,” so they already have filed an appeal challenging the judge’s ruling.

I wonder how long it will take for, say, Guy Ritchie (with whom M adopted David) to come out and say something favorable about his ex-missus.

Update 2: Well, it didn’t take too long: Guy Ritchie has expressed sadness over the ruling, saying that Madonna’s a “great mum.”

Update 3:
Madonna and Ritchie are said to have reunited for some moments after the Queen of Pop returned to the U.K. after leaving Malawi.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Second Coming

The women of Sex and the City will come again next summer.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon will be strutting back into movie theaters next summer – and they’re planning on taking Jake Gyllenhall when they do.

The SATC sequel has claimed May 28, 2010, as its opening date, which pits it against Gyllenhaal’s big-budget adventure Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

Now, let’s think about this one: There’s four of them, and of him…. They’ve got fierce fashions (and perhaps a bouncing baby for Carrie and Big?), while he’s got some big guns.

Mmm…this bit of counterprogramming’s got me at a loss.

Photo: New Line Cinema.

Update 1:
Is Chris Noth gonna be a wet blanket on this project? Word is the actor has some “scheduling problems” that may keep him from doing the sequel.

Or perhaps he’s just holding out for a Big-ger paycheck?

Update 2: If Noth won’t sign up, John Corbett, a.k.a. Aidan Shaw, a.k.a. the perfect man, would “jump” at the chance to reprise his role on the SATC sequel, even though Corbett doesn’t seem to think “there’s a place for [Aidan] in there.”
Driving the Point Across

Starting on April 6, Keira Knightley will star in a two-minute clip debuting in movie theaters, in the all-too-real role of a woman brutally attacked by her boyfriend.

The clip was helmed by Joe Wright, Knightley’s Pride & Prejudice and Atonement director, and serves as a new domestic violence ad for the charity Women’s Aid. It opens with the actress heading home from a long day of filming. When she gets home, her boyfriend verbally and physically attacks her because he thinks she’s having an affair with a co-star.

As the camera pans out, Knightley lies on the floor and the beating continues. The location is then revealed to be an empty film set. “Isn’t it time someone called cut?” the ad says:

“While domestic violence exists in every section of society we rarely hear about it,” Knightley said of her involvement in the project.

“Domestic violence affects one in four women at some point in their lifetime and kills two women every week.”
Brüno Is It, It, It!

red-band trailer for Sacha Baron Cohen’s Brüno is here.

So wrong. And I love it.


And with Spring Comes J. Hud

In an Entertainment Weekly cover story out this week, Jennifer Hudson opens up about her life, her career, her highs, and her lows.

It’s quite the revealing interview for the Oscar- and Grammy-winning artist, who is embarking on a 27-show tour with Robin Thicke (they will perform in New York on April 10 – and it is killing me that I can’t get tickets). In it, J. Hud calls music “my home,” and says she’s “uncomfortable” with fans who cry in front of her.

Not that, mind you, the Dreamgirl isn’t grateful.

“This is what I love to do,” she said.

And I for one love seeing her do it.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Back in Fashion

Good news, Project Runway fans: The dust has settled on the legal battle that has kept the show’s new season from moving to its new home, Lifetime.

A statement issued today says that NBC Universal, The Weinstein Company, and Lifetime have resolved their disputes, and that all of the parties are pleased with the outcome.

Harvey Weinstein added that he wanted “to personally congratulate Jeff Zucker and NBCU on their success in the litigation and thank Jeff for resolving this in a professional manner.

“We look forward to working together on our ongoing projects.”

I wouldn’t count on that happening anytime soon since the blogosphere painted the legal battle with a nasty brush, but, hey – strange bedfellows are common in Hollywood.

The new season of Project Runway, which already has been shot in L.A. (with the finale runway show having taken place, as ush, at February’s Fashion Week in New York), will premiere…soon.


The show’s sixth season will air this summer.
Simply Irresistible, Pt. 48

On Monday’s Gossip Girl, Armie Hammer made his anticipated debut as Gabriel, Serena van der Woodsen’s (Blake Lively) new handsome Euro-beau.

And don’t you know, don’t you know – natch – Gabriel, whom Serena met through socialite Poppy Lifton, will end up being way more than meets the eye, for he’s a Raffaello Follieri-type. You know…the Italian scammer who romanced Anne Hathaway, and was convicted last year on 14 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy.

Serena’s new beau – sorry, Poppy, and thanks for the intro! – is described as “very well-traveled, part of the global elite. He’s not a brooding artist like Dan. He’s definitely a grown-up, and that’s something Serena is very attracted to.”

He’ll be hard to resist, which means he’ll be trouble. The season-ending story line will take a dark turn, and ultimately lands Serena – Spoiler Alert! – behind bars, and worse, in mortal danger.

Moreover, it triggers the return of Michelle Trachtenberg’s Georgina Sparks, which could mean more trouble for S…or maybe her salvation.